Postmastectomy reconstruction in obese patients has a significant risk of complications and poor outcomes after implant-based and autologous methods. Here we present 22 consecutive patients with Class III obesity [body mass index (BMI) > 40 kg/m2] who underwent reconstruction with a muscle-sparing latissimus dorsi (MSLD) flap.
A chart review of a single surgeon experience with 22 consecutive patients with Class III obesity who underwent postmastectomy reconstruction with an MSLD flap was performed. Demographics, operative details, outcomes, and complications were evaluated.
Twenty-two patients underwent 29 mastectomy and MSLD reconstructions. There were no flap failures. The average BMI was 47.2 kg/m2, including 12 patients with BMI > 50 kg/m2. Seven breasts demonstrated partial nipple and or mastectomy flap necrosis. There was 1 (3.4%) donor site dehiscence that healed with outpatient wound care and 1 (3.4%) seroma that required multiple aspirations in the office. The average operative times were 178 and 420 minutes for unilateral and bilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstructions, respectively. The average hospital length of stay was 0.56 and 1.3 days for unilateral and bilateral surgeries, respectively.
These results demonstrate the utility of the MSLD flap in reconstructing the very obese. Operative times and lengths of stay compare favorably with conventional latissimus dorsi flap and abdominal-based microvascular free tissue transfer reconstructions. While our complication rates were higher than historically seen for patients with normal BMIs, there were no instances of flap failure, making this a viable reconstructive option for these very high-risk patients.
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